Ask the Home Insurance Expert
I need to store a bunch of my stuff over the summer. How do I insure it?
You can buy a special policy designed for insuring property in a storage unit, but first check to see what coverage you'd have under a homeowners or renters insurance policy.
A home or renters insurance policy usually includes a certain amount of coverage for belongings away from home. Call the insurance company or check the policy for the precise amount. Often it's 10 percent or 15 percent of the total amount of coverage.
Keep in mind, though, that home and renters insurance includes caps on coverage for certain valuables, such as fine art, jewelry, collections, antiques and others. Check whether the cap would apply to any of your belongings, and consider buying additional coverage if you think you might be underinsured. You can get more coverage by purchasing an endorsement, or "floater," on the policy to cover valuables.
Don't have home or renters insurance? Consider a special policy that covers items in a storage unit. Some storage facilities offer coverage for an extra charge above the standard rental fee. Read the policy to understand how much coverage is provided, whether any types of items are excluded from coverage, and against which risks the coverage protects, such as weather-related damage or theft.
As you consider insurance options, make a list of everything you plan to store. The Insurance Information Institute provides free onine software to do a thorough inventory at KnowYourStuff.org. The inventory will help you decide how much coverage you need and help the process go smoothly if you have to make a claim.